What is Craps: What is its History?

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**Craps is a game where people bet on what will happen when they roll two dice. Bets can be made between players (“street craps”) or against a bank (“casino craps”). “Street craps” can be played anywhere because it doesn’t require much equipment. Players may use slang terms when placing bets and making actions in craps.**

**What is Craps History?**

If you’re not familiar with Craps, it’s essentially a dice game where players bet on the outcome of a roll or a series of rolls. People can bet against each other (“street craps”) or against a bank (“casino craps” or “table craps”). “Street craps” can be played anywhere because it doesn’t require much equipment, just dice.

The story goes that Roman soldiers created craps by using the knucklebones of pigs as dice and their shields as a table. Some believe craps originated from an Arabic dice game called Al Dar, meaning “dice” in Arabic, brought to Europe by traders in the 12th century. Most people believe that Sir William of Tyre created the game in 1125 during the Crusades and named it after a castle called “Asart” or “Hazarth,” later called “Hazard.”

Fast forward a bit, the English game “Hazard” became very popular in French taverns in the 17th century. Since it required little equipment, “street craps” could be played in informal settings. It is believed that during this time, the name “craps” was coined as a spinoff of the French word “crapaud,” meaning “toad,” referring to the original playing style of people crouching on the floor or sidewalk.

The American version was brought to New Orleans by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a wealthy gambler and politician whose family owned land in colonial Louisiana. Players could take advantage of the casino due to a flaw in the game. This was fixed in the 19th century by American dice maker John H. Winn, known as the “father of the modern game,” by adding the “Don’t Pass” betting option.

His version grew and spread, first in the French Louisiana colony of Arcadia and then on gambling boats on the Mississippi River. The growth of gambling in Las Vegas in 1931 further popularized the game.

**Rules for Playing Against Other Players (“Street Craps”)**

Craps that are played informally outside the casino are called “street craps” or “private craps.” The main difference between street craps and bank craps is that in street craps, there is no house or bank to cover the bets. For the game to be played, players must bet against each other by covering or fading each other’s bets. If money is used instead of chips and according to the rules of the place where the game is played, street craps may be an illegal form of gambling.

Street craps come in different forms. The easiest way is to agree or roll a number as the point, then roll the point again before rolling a 7. Street craps have simpler betting options compared to the more complex proposition bets offered by casinos. If the shooter wants to roll the dice, they must bet “Pass” or “Don’t Pass.” For the game to continue, another player must choose to cover the shooter to create a stake.

If there is more than one player, the person needing to cover the shooter can switch to the shooter (comparable to a blind in poker). The person covering the shooter always bets against the shooter. For example, if the shooter bets “Pass,” the person covering the shooter wins by betting “Don’t Pass.” Once the shooter is covered, other players can bet on Pass/Don’t Pass or any other proposition bets, as long as other players are willing to cover.



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